Plant Species Labels

photo of flower

In order for our plant collections to serve as living reference material, we need to communicate information about the specimens on display. To do this, we use labels.

Some are accent labels that provide the most basic information –the name of the plant you are looking at. The names of plants are reviewed and accepted by international organizations which use Latin as the common global language. Along with the Latin name, we also include the common (usually English) name of the plant that is used locally.

The general collection label adds a little more information and context for the plant, including the family that the plant belongs to and the geographic range where it occurs in the wild.

A third type of label is used for horticultural specimens that have been selected or purposefully bred for certain features. These are then registered with a cultivar name, which appears on the label in single quotation marks.

Another way we label our plants is with tags, called accession tags, which include a number that links the particular tree to its record in our database. In this way, we can record and track details about each plant, such as its origin and the date it was planted, and this information allows the collection to be a valuable resource for research.

As you walk through The Arboretum, take a look at the plant labels to help you identify the species around you!